A guidebook to Trump-speak: think ‘bloke talking aloud in the pub’
3 days ago
From overly defensive Sigmar Gabriel to delusional Michael Gove, politicians are misreading the president-elects utterances
Taken literally, Donald Trumps latest believes about the world, as retailed to the British politician Michael Gove, are frightening for Europe, the EU and Nato. But considered dispassionately, his comments are the most recent example of Trump-speak, a loose, untutored language form that politicians and envoys must now quickly learn to decipher.
As has by now been well established, Trump-speak should be taken seriously, but not literally. Large pinches of salt, interspersed with reality checks and deep breaths, are involved. The hasty, too defensive reaction on Monday of Germanys deputy chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, to Trumps suggestion the EU could disintegrate is not the way to run. Trump could and probably will say the exact opposite tomorrow.
Trump-speak is typically off the cuff, unconsidered, contradictory, strongly conveyed and essentially transitory. It mixes long-held beliefs and prejudices with barely grasped facts and dawning realities. Its like a bloke talking aloud in the pub who only read this stuff in the paper.
So, for example, Trump revealed to Gove that he has discovered matters were not going well in Afghanistan. I have just looked at something, he said. Oh, I should not show you it at all, because its secret but I have just taken a look at Afghanistan … And you ask yourself, Whats going on there? Well, yes actually, you do.
Trump-speak is a thought-stream , not a logical or rational process. It blithely blunders into sensitive issues. It wings it, blurts and stumbles. It induces stuff up as it goes along. And it typically absence solid conclusions, leading interlocutors nowhere. The crucial thing about Trump-speak is that it is rarely his last word.
Weighing Trump-speak for subtle diplomatic subtleties, calculated hints and cloaked policy switchings is a mugs game. Thus Goves gleeful declaration that Trump had bolstered Theresa May by promising a fast-track, post-Brexit trade deal with the US looks like delusional over-interpretation.
This is the same Trump who has failed so far to fix a date to meet Britains prime minister but who found time for Gove, sacked by May, and Ukips Nigel Farage. Trump says hes a big fan of the UK. But his Scottish golf course aside, Britains interests barely register on his radar.
But the Chinese are misreading the subject. To the extent that Trump has considered the matter at all, he appears to position Taiwan in the context of unfair US-China trade. Despite asserting his right to do so, he did not gratify Taiwans president when she transited the US last week. He could be plotting recognition of an independent Taiwan. But probably not.
Likewise on Iran, Trump says Barack Obama cut a terrible nuclear deal in 2015. His statements have provoked intense speculation in Tehran about malign US aims and defiant, pre-emptive warnings by Iranian leaders. Their misstep is to take him at his Twitter word. What seems to concern Trump most is not Israels future security. Its the money the US repaid to Tehran as part of the deal.
In Trump-speak, Nato is both obsolete and important. US and Russian nuclear arsenals must be reduced substantially, although he has previously demanded a large US expansion. Angela Merkel, Germanys chancellor, is simultaneously fantastic and catastrophic.
Trump told Gove he was undecided about who he would support in Germanys September federal election raising the scandalising possibility that he might publicly take sides. And if in Germany, why not in France? Was Marine Le Pen, the Front Nationals presidential nominee, simply taking coffee at Trump Tower last week? Or was Trump conspiring with her? In the equivocal world of Trump-speak, anything is possible , nothing is certain.
Trump-speak says, repeatedly, that the US embassy in Israel will definitely move to Jerusalem until, suddenly this week, it is not up for discussion. It says the future prospects of North Korean nuclear missiles threatening the US mainland is not going to happen. Kim Jong-un, North Koreas paranoid dictator, thinks it will. So what next? Trump-speak is silent.
On Iraq, Trump is consistent but clueless. The 2003 invasion was the worst ever decision in history. US policy, he said, was akin to hurling boulders into a beehive. On Syria, Trump-speak is all over the place. The president-elect must have had a briefing, because he now favours security zones presumably, the safe havens plan favoured by Hillary Clinton.
It was terrible to shoot old ladies in Aleppo, Trump said on that, all can agree. But Trump says he trusts the shooter, Vladimir Putin, and looking ahead to doing great things with Russia. What this may mean is anybodys guess, although the Russian president likely has his own notions. A Nato pullback in eastern Europe for starters.
Trump-speak is whatever Trump believes US policy should be at any given moment. This is not inevitably how policy is or how it will be. Trump-speak is the exact opposite of George Orwells newspeak, which was all about thought control and limiting alternative ideas and choices. It is thus essentially chaotic.
Trump-speak is more akin to doublespeak. Working out what the next US president actually thinks, when he often appears not to know himself, is going to be a full-time job.
People Are Losing Their Shit After Release of Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails
12 days ago
Today on July 11, 2017 Donald Trump Jr. shellshocked a whole lotta people when he released his own emails — practically pulling the trigger to his own head, and providing irrefutable proof that there was some collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Trump praises Kim on Fox& Friends: ‘I want my people to do the same’
18 days ago
President called Northern korean leader a strong head and said Obama had been essentially ready to go to war with the country
An” antsy and ” Donald Trump reportedly attempted to bringing his summit with Kim Jong-un of North Korea forward by a day, asking aides after arriving in Singapore last Sunday:” We’re here now. Why can’t we just do it ?”
The one-day summit, aimed at reducing the threat from nuclear-armed North Korea, went ahead as planned on Tuesday. But on Thursday night, citing two people” familiar with preparations for the event “, the Washington Post said the president’s impatience and a “tense” personnel meeting with North Korean officials left” left some aides fearful that the entire summit might be in peril “.
In a Friday morning interview on the White House lawn with Fox& Friends, meanwhile, Trump risked provoking critics when he said the North Korean dictator was ” the strong head” of his country.
” He speaks and his people sit up at attention ,” Trump told.” I want my people to do the same .”
The president also claimed his predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama, had been” essentially ready to go to war with North Korea”, and claimed to have “solved” the problem of the nuclear menace from Pyongyang.
The Post quoth” people familiar with the talks” in reporting how Trump’s request to move the summit was parried by senior members of his government. “Ultimately,” the Post wrote,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders persuaded Trump to stick with the original scheme, arguing that the president and his team could use the time to prepare .”
” They also ,” the report said,” advised him that he might sacrifice wall-to-wall television coverage of his summit if he abruptly moved the long-planned date to Monday in Singapore, which would be Sunday night in the United States .”
On Friday Trump’s remarks- and a video statement issued later- had to compete for TV attention with the president’s fierce criticism of a Department of Justice report, the FBI and its former director James Comey; the jailing of his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort; and the president’s announcement of tariffs against China, inspiring retaliatory measures from Beijing.
Trump’s preparation for the meeting with Kim was long a point of contention. In May, after North Korea criticised his vice-president, Mike Pence, Trump said the summit was cancelled. He later said his approach was not about preparation but” about position”, then told a press conference in Canada he would know ” within the first minute” if the summit would be a success. After satisfying Kim, he told reporters he and the dictator” got to know each other well in a very restricted period of time “.
The Trump-Kim summit has been widely criticised in the US, in most portion for the failure to secure written commitment to North Korean denuclearisation, which the Trump administration has repeatedly demanded. Trump told Fox on Friday” it’s in the agreement, it says’ he will denuclearise'” after a summit from which” we get everything “. Sanctions on North Korea would be” off when we’re sure there’s no more nuclear”, he said.
In fact, the agreement tells merely that North Korea” commits to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula “. Pompeo this week angrily told reporters the performance agreement did not contain all that was agreed in Singapore. In his video statement on Friday, Trump insisted:” This is the beginning of the process towards denuclearisation of North Korea.
” I sometimes tell,’ the de-nuking of North Korea’ and those are beautiful terms “.
In Singapore, Trump also signalled a major concession to Pyongyang when he said he would cancel US-South Korean military exercises– to the astound of South Korea and the US defense department.
The Post report also said Trump laughingly praised North Korean state TV, joking” that even … Fox News was not as lavish in its praise “. Footage of the president saluting a Northern korean general has also been widely criticised, as has Trump’s apparent dismissal of human rights concerns. The chairman repeatedly praised the North Korean leader for being” tough “.
Trump told Fox on Friday:” He’s the head of a country, he’s the strong head, don’t let anyone believe anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same .” He afterward told a reporter he had been “kidding”. The reporter didn’t” understand satire”, he said.
Speaking to Fox, Trump also said:” When I was talking to President Obama, he was essentially ready to go to war with North Korea. I did ask him:’ Have you spoken to him ?’ He goes:’ No .’ I told:’ You think it would be a good notion to speak to him, perhaps? OK ?'”
Speaking to reporters, Trump said Obama told him North Korea’s atomic weapon were the” most dangerous problem” facing the US.” I have solved that problem ,” Trump said.” Now we’re getting it memorialized and all but that problem is largely solved .”
He also said he had given Kim” a very direct number” which meant the despot could” call me if he has any difficulty “.
” People are shocked ,” the president told, boasting about talks that followed abuse and threats between Washington and Pyongyang.” They believed Trump was going to get in, he’s going to start throwing bombs all over the place. It’s actually the opposite .”
Asked about his reluctance to criticise Kim’s human rights record, he said:” You know why? Because I don’t want to see a nuclear weapon to destroy you and your family .”
Trump also told Fox of his request for the return of remains of” likely 7,500″ US soldiers killed in the Korean war, which he claimed was already making outcomes. He told again that “parents” of such soldiers had appealed to him.
The Korean war took place between 1950 and 1953, which would build the survival of any parents of soldiers killed in the war highly unlikely.
While You Were Offline: Transgress the Internet and Rebuild a Better One
19 days ago
It was a week bookended with violence, on the Internet as much as in the news. The tragic murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in West Yorkshire on Thursday resounded around social media in such a way that British politics rarely does, in big part because events in the USwhich is a clumsily euphemistic route of telling ” the the mass shooting that killed 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub last weekend” have left us so sensitive to violence and horror. That assault, as much a hate crime against the LGBTQ community as it was a terrorist action, prompted multiple answers both online and offline. Yes, this week on the Internet was, like everywhere else, dominated by the aftermath of that nightmarish attack.
Break the Internet and Rebuild a Better One
What Happened : In the wake of the Pulse shooting, LGBTQ people on Twitter constructed themselves visible in a show of solidarity. Where It Blew Up : Twitter What Really Happened : Within hours of the attack in Orlando, as details were still emerging, it was clear that there was a homophobic component to what had happened. As the discussion surrounding Omar Mateen’s motives stirred, a sideshoot of the conversation turned to the simple, frightening fact that for the LGBTQ community, simply existing can be a political statementoffensive to some with closed minds, but also inspirational to others who lack any role models.
From that beginning went the Twitter trend # GaysBreakTheInternet, the purpose of which was simple: members of the LGBTQ community posting selfies and had confirmed that they exist, and that they matter.
In honor of the ones killed last night in Orlando& all over the world for being them, we’d like to introduce #GaysBreakTheInternet
The Takeaway : Actually, we’re not quite finished yet…
What Happened : A second self-identification tendency launched on Twitter, with a slightly different focus: introducing the person posting, and demonstrating the broad, varied spectrum of those who are queer and proud. Where It Blew Up : Twitter What Really Happened : While #GaysBreakTheInternet was still running, writer and musician Dylan Marron( You might know him as Welcome to Night Vale ‘ s Carlos) posted a tweet that took an alternate view of visibility as statement 😛 TAGEND
I am a soft-spoken brown faggot man who wears his mother’s pearl earrings. And I love my queerness. Let’s start a #queerselflove hashtag
Arguably less about posting photographs of yourself looking fierce and/ or fabulous, #queerselflove quickly ran viral as those taking part simply told tales of who they were, accompanied with images or not, building a world in which they were represented, visible, and recognise, demonstrating that there’s not just one fag narrative, but a world of them 😛 TAGEND
I am a quiet white fag person who likes to skateboard and I want to be a librarian. #queerselflove
The Takeaway : The tweets shared from the two hashtags above are just samplings; there are many, many more to be found. There’s a courage displayed by those invited to participate in either one, because as the Pulse shooting and the aftermath has shown, this is not a society that is totally comfortable with LGBTQ narratives yet, and only being yourself can end up being a dangerous thing to do. If there’s any upside from what’s happened in the last week, it might be watching the kindness and strength of people like those posting above.
Asked and Answered
What Happened : Donald Trump wanted to” ask the lesbians” about something.” The lesbians” made sure their answer was heard. Where It Blew Up : Twitter, media reports What Really Happened : Here’s another reason why it’s important for LGBTQ people to speak up: if you don’t, others will say things on your behalf. Like, for example, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who this week said the following at a campaign appearance:” For the homosexuals out thereask the lesbians and ask the peopleask the gays what they think and what they do in , not only Saudi Arabia, in many of these countries, with the gay community, be asking, and then you tell mewhos your friend, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton ?”
Yes. Let’s” ask the gays ,” shall we?
” Ask The Gays ,” a new self-help reality indicate, coming to Logo this fall
What Happened : Hands up, anyone who ever thought we would consider the live-tweeting of a filibuster. Well, funny story… Where It Blew Up : Twitter What Really Happened : Following the Pulse shooting, the gun control debate started back up–with a slight change. This time around, it seemed, Senate Democrats were going to try and do something about the political gridlock surrounding the questions, with Connecticut’s Chris Murphy launching into a filibuster Wednesday to inspire a vote on the issue 😛 TAGEND
I’m speaking on the Senate floor to honor the victims of the Orlando attack& demand the Senate address gun violence. #Enough
Every now and again, this really does feel like the darkest timeline.
Trouble, Trouble, Trouble
What Happened : Taylor Swift might have a new boyfriend. But he’s already the Internet’s boyfriend. What is going on here? Where It Blew Up : Twitter, media believe pieces What Really Happened : Let’s talking here something else to end on. Something more positive, more life-affirming. Like, tell, the start of a new relationship as captured via telephoto lens and uncovered via a tabloid tweet 😛 TAGEND
Obama Endorsement Yields Clinton’s Most[ FIRE EMOJI] Tweet Yet
20 days ago
President Barack Obama is officially “# WithHer .”
The president announced his long-awaited endorsement of Hillary Clinton in a YouTube video posted to Clinton’s channel today. He congratulates Clinton on becoming the Democratic party’s presumptive nominee, saying,” I don’t think theres ever been someone so qualified to hold this office .”
Of course, Donald Trump had something to say about this, instantly tweeting:
Obama only endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obamabut nobody else does!
Game on. Already the tweet is the most popular Clinton has ever sent, and that’s saying something, given she had some of the most popular political Tweets of 2015.
It may sound like a small thing, but build no mistake, this tweet represents what could be a kind of turning point for the Clinton campaign. It not only represents a level of position her campaign rarely leveled at Democratic rival Bernie Sanders online. It’s also an indication that the campaign may be prepared to be more nimble in responding to what are sure to be Trump’s all too frequent Twitter attacks.
One criticism of Clinton during primary season is that she always appeared a little too rehearsed, a little too cautious, when up against Sanders. In reality, what the social media age now craves is an air of off-the-cuff authenticity. Trump is a master of conveying that quality. Now, we’ll see if Clinton can bring this same online agility to the debate stage and beyond this fall.
As for Obama, who was, of course, the catalyst to this catfight, he said he’s eager to get on the campaign trail with Clinton, and also thanked Bernie Sanders on his hard-fought campaign. Obama noted that espousing Sanders’ message” is going to help us win in November .”
That includes not only the substance of that message, it seems, but the style, too.
The age of Trump seems like a better time than ever for an XFL revival
1 month, 14 days ago
Calls for a safer, more regulated NFL have been concurrent with the rumored resurgence of Vince McMahons XFL. Which couldnt make more sense
During an interception return in the third quarter of last week’s game between the Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers, Panthers cornerback Thomas Davis appeared to relish the rare opportunity to play the role of leading blocker. Davis find Packers broad receiver Davante Adams following the play unaware and launched his shoulder into Adams’s helmet. Davis was to be laid down onto the ground and suffered a concussion, forcing him from the game and potentially costing Adams his ability to participate in the rest of the season.
Davis received a two-game suspension for the make, entailing he is done for the remainder of the regular season. But this collision and other violent, over-the-top hittings to the head like the one that left Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Savage shaking on the turf two Sundays ago have led some football pontificators to suggest the NFL needs to adopt a targeting regulation akin to the one currently on the NCAA volumes, which would allow referees to expel players for overly violent hits to a defenseless player’s head. NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said on 6 December of a targeting rule,” I think it’s something that we have to consider .”
Contrast this news with a rumor to surface of late: the XFL, Vince McMahon’s ill-fated wrestling inspired springtime football league, may be up for a reboot. According to Deadspin’s David Bixenspan, McMahon has created a new venture called Alpha Entertainment that will” explore investment possibilities across the athletics and amusement sceneries, including professional football .” Alpha has filed for trademarks on “URFL” and “UrFL”, and the other McMahon venture, VKM Ventures LLC, applied to trademark” For the Love of Football”, “UFL”, and” United Football League “. These applications have all been filed since September, resulting some to speculate the XFL revival whatever name it ends up with- could be a response to the disgruntlement some NFL fans have expressed in the wake of player protests against police brutality.
There is no doubt in my mind that McMahon would jump at an opportunity to capture the disgruntled flag-waving sect of NFL fandom. But to me, what induces the idea of the XFL appealing today is its active gala of football’s most violent moments. One XFL advertisement featured” passing drills” in which the receivers caught footballs shot out of a tank cannon, an obstacle course in which running backs ran over landmines, and the promise of one of the XFL’s signature rule changes: no fair catches, as the poor punt returner was slammed to the ground by a wrecking ball.
Another XFL promotion promised” No indoor fields , no prima donna , no weakling. Here, the rules are fiercer, the clock is faster, and halftime is a break , not a vacation. This is football, the way it was meant to be played .” This commercial concludes with the same promise of no fair catches, as a punt returner is slammed to the turf , not this time by a wrecking ball, but by three opposing players who knock him clear into the air before driving him to the ground.
If Trump witness under oath, any lies would be perjury. Does he know that? | Austin Sarat
1 month, 16 days ago
Trump has accused former FBI director James Comey of lying and said he is willing to testify about its statement of claim. But will the president be able to be honest?
In another strange and unsettling performance, Donald Trump used Fridays press conference with the Romanias prime minister to accuse James Comey of lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Three hours, the president contradicted Comeys sworn testimony and denied telling him that he hoped he would let the investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn go.
But what stimulated headlines from the press conference was this: ABC newsman Jonathan Karl pointed out to Trump that the former FBI director had constructed his statements under oath and asked the president whether he would be willing to do the same. The chairman reacted: 100%.
Displaying his usual bravado, Trump went on to say that he would be willing to speak with Robert S Mueller III, another former FBI director who is now leading the Russia investigation as special counsel. I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just “ve told you”, he told the assembled reporters.
The prospect of Trump talking with the special advise and testifying under oath creates the intriguing question of whether he would willingly turn his daily lies into perjury and whether he could get away with it.
He may be sorely seduced to talk with Mueller as his promise to repeat his version of conversations with Comey under oath suggests. But, if he does so he will find himself in an arena for which he is singularly unprepared. It is an arena where persons do not just lie, they commit perjury.
Perjury occurs when someone knowingly stimulates false or misleading statements in a court of law or to investigators or signs a legally binding statement that he or she knows to be false.
Perjury is a fluctuation on obstruction of justice. In both, as the supreme court once set it, the defendants false statement must have the natural and probable effect of interfering with a legal proceeding.
Perhaps the critical fact in the modern crime of perjury is that the lie passes after someone has sworn an oath to tell the truth. When the practice of swearing oaths beganit was believed that the specter of Gods vengeance alone was enough to coax witnesses into telling the unvarnished truth. But, by the 16 th century, legal penalties were also being implemented for lying under oath.
And those penalties were no laughing matter. They included having ones tongue cut out or having ones ears nailed to the wood of a pillory.
The gravity of criminal penalties reflected the fact that society considered perjury to be an unusually serious form of lying because it attacked the integrity of the legal process and undermined the authority of statute itself.
Today lying under oath is still a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison. But it no longer carries the stigma it once did.
It is often dismissed as what the former Senator from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison, called a perjury technicality, a style for prosecutors, who cannot convict a defendant of a more serious crime, to catch people up in ordinary lies.
Hutchisons attitude that perjury is a lesser crime seems to be widely shared.
Even in the most highly watched examples, someones are undeterred from committing perjury: Bill Clinton famously lied under oath when he testified about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, and Martha Stewart lied under oath about an insider trading case.
Things can only be made worse when the presidency falls into the hands of someone who, according to one count, built 492 false or misleading asserts during his first 100 days in office.
Having survived the furor over the Access Hollywood tapes, which many suppose would derail his presidential campaign, Trump likely thinks he can get away with just about anything. Moreover, his behaviour throughout his public career does not suggest that he fears Gods vengeance.
There is no reason to believe that the president would behave differently under oath than he does in his day to day copes with those who work for him and with the American people.
However, Trump and his allies are making a serious mistake in characterizing the dispute with Comey as simply a He Said/ He said situation and if they think that lying under oath is just like lying elsewhere.
An experienced and talented attorney like Robert Mueller would not talk with Trump until he has a pretty good picture of what happened between the president and Comey.
He will have thoroughly reviewed Comeys contemporaneous memoes and his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, interviewed everyone with whom Comey spoke after his conversations with the president, talked with White House staff and others about what Trump told them about his meetings and calls with Comey, and, in the unlikely event that there are tapes of those meetings, subpoenaed and reviewed them.
Speaking to the special attorney under oath, Trump would neither be in control of where Muellers questioning goes nor be able to cut off or bully his interrogators the route he does reporters.
But having mastered the art of lying in politics, he nonetheless may think that he can do the same if he talks with Mueller.
So, bring out Mueller and the oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. None of it would faze the president. Yet his impulsiveness, impatience, and laziness suggest that he would not be able to successfully deal in deceit with the special counsel. If he tries to do so, it will likely prove to be his undoing.
‘What a chickensh* t story.’ Brit Hume THRASHES leftist media forms in back-and-forth over sexism
1 month, 18 days ago
Brit Hume didn’t hold back on what he deemed a’ chickensh* t story’ about Trump telling a reporter had a nice smile written by our’ friends’ at The New York Times . Apparently complementing a member of the opposite sexuality is now sexism … or something.
The exchange, which is now being captured on video and widely shared on social media, depicted criticism about how Mr. Trump treats women and the message it sent about the stance toward women as professionals in their fields. Elisa Lees Muoz, executive director of the International Womens Media Foundation, said on Wednesday that she had heard about the episode in passing.
After a transcript of the exchange was read to her over the phone, she said: Oh, Lord. I wish I could say this is a surprise.
If the editor of this piece rolled her eyes any further in the back of her head they’d pop right outta their sockets. Severely?
Trump is just the latest obstacle on the zigzagging course of racial advance | Margaret Burnham
1 month, 21 days ago
Studying the American civil war and civil rights movement, its clear theres no racial nirvana ahead. Instead there may be an era of sustained political violence
At the end of the American civil war, before Reconstruction could plant its feet solidly in the south, white people in the region fought to redeem their countries from freedmen, whom they assured as corrupted and ignorant, and northern rulers, whom they deemed to be corrupt opportunists. So bloody was the campaign that ultimately returned black people to near-slavery that one writer, Nicholas Lemann, described the redemption period, from 1876 to the mid-1 890 s, as the last combat of the civil war. I remind you of this because the president-elects selection of Jeff Sessions as attorney general suggests, perhaps more than any other appointment, that the redeemers have once again triumphed.
In the 20 th century, after the successes of the civil rights movement, eventually a reincarnated redemption motion lessened the force of the 1960 s civil rights laws and led to racialised mass incarceration. The prospect that the combined voice of a Sessions justice department and an altered supreme court may cut deep into legal protections upon which minorities have relied since the civil rights motion deserves close analysis. Far more frightening, however, is the real possibility that the current regime will usher in an age of sustained political violence, reminiscent, in purpose if not precisely in kind, of what was experienced in the original redemption.
This sounds far-fetched, to be sure, but as we prognosticate over what the Trump presidency will entail, it would be a mistake to ignore how the US once legitimated and then paved over this long epoch of state-organised racial violence. Here is where traditional law-making, partisan politics and racial violence have historically intersected. If political violence was the gasoline of the redemption machine, new disenfranchising statutes comprised its chassis and the Democratic party was its engineer. What, then, can be learned from history that might help us stave off the most ruthless reactions to the two previous reconstructions?
The presidential election of 1876, which brought to power Rutherford Hayes and led to the ejection of the Republican party in the south, marked the entrenchment of political terror against the newly liberated citizens. In the aftermath, the freedom of the media dreamings of African Americans and their friends were replaced with an apartheid from which the nation has really never recovered.
After a political flowering in the wake of the civil war, the likes of which the country would not witness again for more than a century about 2,000 black elected officials in the former Confederate countries( including two US senators and a governor ), a commitment to public education, agrarian reform and economic development in the south, a federalised civil rights regime black people were stripped of legal protections and whipped, raped, lynched and defrauded back into submission.
Since the 1960 s historians have termed the civil rights motion a second reconstruction. The second redemption, just as with the first, rested on the myth that white racial stances had so moderated that minority groups no longer required protection; on this reading affirmative action policies and protections against disfranchisement were not only unnecessary but also unAmerican.
A casual examine of the American past stimulates two things clear: first, racial advance proceeds in zigzag fashion whether because, as the legal theoretician Derrick Bell argued, the white majority supports minority rights only if they converge with white interests, or because a full mapping of the USs racial history has never been undertaken; and second, partisan politics both constructs and reflects distinct racial categories. In other words there is no racial nirvana ahead of us; instead, what we will have, given the USs troubled history and disinclination to tackle it, is permanent contestation and contingency. Indeed, its political salience is precisely what renders race so reliably non-perishable.
Barack Obama championed incremental change, perhaps because he believed that nothing else was possible in American politics. They may not have been earth-shattering but Obamas successes including the fact of his election reflected a sort of third reconstruction, the antithesis of which is breathing heavily on the backs of peoples necks. That the Trump regime will aim to augment the voting power of its core rural constituency by expanding voter suppression laws and launching a full-throttled great efforts to repeal “whats left of” the Voting Rights Act is a dedicated. Trump promised as much when he recently complained that millions of votes were fraudulently cast, and Sessions has denied that restrictive statutes have hurt black citizens in his home state of Alabama.
Also vulnerable are civil right measures that were passed on commerce clause grounds, such as the equal employment opportunity provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, known as Title VII. Tea party constitutionalists, echoing debates by libertarian legal scholars such as the Hoover Institutes Richard Epstein, claim that the supreme court has, since the 1930 s, improperly enlarged the scope of that clause to the harm of individual liberties. While libertarian jurists may have aligned with traditional liberals on same-sex marriage, some of them also think that the commerce clause does not confer on Congress the power to forbid racial or gender discrimination by private companies. This seemed a preposterous posture, but if it gains momentum in academic circles and adherents on the court, Title VII is one of ratings of measures that could end up on the chopping block.
Redemption number three may bring us more than only the formal rollback of 1960 s-era civil rights laws. One thing is pretty certain: the resistance to this president is likely to be fierce and activist. And with a view to responding, the federal government, led by the Sessions justice department, may well launch a low-intensity war against the insurgents. Also to be expected is that poor and marginalised communities will be subjected to increased country violence in the form of police barbarism, mass criminalisation and incarceration, and other forms of violence, both attritional and lethal.
The line between legal and extra-legal violence could fade as it typically does in times of heightened political or racial situations of conflict and as it did in the first redemption, when even moderate white people maintained silent in the face of the Ku Klux Klans butchery because they tried a speedy return to white rule in the south.
Trumps demonising of the Movement for Black Lives( a alliance of US groups representing black communities, including Black Lives Matter) has reinforced the perceptions of many white people that they are a distinctive community threatened with extinction by black crime. One can expect that white racial solidarity, mobilised by economic anxiety, prejudice and Trumps Make America Great Again nation-building project, will incline white people to justify extra-legal violence and incorporate it into beliefs about what the law actually permits. The president-elects campaign, which mixed dread and stereotypes to generate violence, generated the kind of climate in which vigilantism thrives, and nothing in the post-election weeks has changed this picture.
Clearly this will not be redemption redux, and one would hope that the rule of statute would hold, but it is also true that , notwithstanding the horrors of the 20 th century, we dont truly understand what persuades ordinary people to butcher their neighbours and co-citizens. Americans are just as human as Rwandans, Germans and Serbians; no more , no less.
The first reconstruction opened, for an exhilarating moment, a window through which former slave communities could envisage a new political life. The post-reconstruction counter-revolutions suggest that such instants of transformation can be quickly subverted, and that the challenge of recapturing what was lost is arduous and protracted.
The myth that racism is dead has been variously styled separate but equal, colourblindness and post-racialism. Whatever the word, it is the duty of all of us who fear for the US to remember that though racial postures are not unalterable or homogeneous, race will always register and resistance will always resurface. Revolutionaries holding alternative understands of what ails America as a nation its the class struggle, stupid who want to win elections, or transform power relations more fundamentally, would do well to examine the politics of the redemption and that 95 -year gap in North Carolina.